Cops finally beat a long-standing ban on beards – but there’s still one big fashion trend their bosses have vetoed
- Victoria Police officers now allowed to grow a beard in big facial hair overhaul
- Officers were previously only allowed to grow a tidy moustache on their face
- New rules come with strict restrictions on length of beard and maintenance
Victoria police officers will now be allowed to grow a beard in a massive overhaul to a facial hair ban – but face tattoos are still prohibited.
Victoria Police consulted with the Police Association to bring in sweeping changes to the department’s uniform and appearance policy last Friday.
Officers were previously allowed to have neat moustaches – but were banned from growing a beard, long hair or goatee.
Strict rules are attached to the new freedom with officers required to keep the length below 20mm, ‘appropriately’ maintain it, and only grow it during a period of leave of at least three weeks.
Victoria police officers will now be allowed to grow a beard in a massive overhaul to its facial hair ban – but face tattoos are still prohibited
Strict rules are attached to the new freedom with officers required to keep the length below 20mm, ‘appropriately’ maintain it, and only grow it during a period of leave of at least three weeks (pictured, officers can grow a beard similar to the length worn by movie star Chris Hemsworth)
The restrictions on length mean officers could grow a neat, Chris Hemsworth-style beard, but not a bushy look like AFL player Josh Kennedy.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said there was still a ban on face tattoos for new recruits.
‘For new employees, face, head, neck and hand tattoos are not permitted unless they are small/discreet in size, colour and location and can be appropriately covered while in duty,’ they said.
The facial hair win marks the end of an 11-year-long battle that began when a group of officers were banned from growing beards by Chief Commissioner Ken Lay in 2011.
The battle was taken to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2014 before it was rejected.
Leading Senior Constable Michael Kuyken then failed to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court in 2015.
Senior Constable Kuyken claimed he had maintained a goatee since joining the force in 2004. He complained a change in grooming standards meant he was no longer allowed to wear one.
Justice Gregory Garde dismissed his claim the change was an act of ‘direct discrimination’.
‘[The tribunal] was not satisfied that a reasonable member of the public would consider that the plaintiff’s goatee imparts any information or ideas such as his desire to be an individual rather than an automaton,’ Justice Garde said.
The restrictions on length mean officers could grow a neat, Chris Hemsworth-style beard, but not a bushy look like AFL player Josh Kennedy
‘The tribunal was not satisfied that having a goatee imparts any information or ideas, or conveys any meaning at all.
‘The plaintiff had not established on the facts that he had been prevented from imparting any information or ideas.’
Former detective Sergeant Bill Chrisant was one of the officers who was suspended for his facial hair when the new change came into effect in 2011.
He called the win a major step forward in the right direction.
‘It’s a victory for all us bearded members,’ he told Herald Sun. ‘Police command were doing their job. But it was something I believed in, considering we had beards for so long.’
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